West Virginia Law Review

Document Type

Student Note


The system of tenure in American higher education has been advanced as necessary to protect academic freedom and to encourage faculty innovation and independence of judgment. The system has not been immune from attack. Whether or not the reasons for the tenure system are sound and its purposes laudatory, tenure has resulted in a classification scheme for faculty members which has had profound effects on their legal and constitutional rights. It is this issue regarding tenure which is to be examined here. This Note will consider the constitutional rights of nontenured faculty in public colleges and universities, as interpreted in recent United States Supreme Court decisions. It will also analyze the rules and regulations of the West Virginia Board of Regents and a recently enacted statute in West Virginia affecting the rights of nontenured faculty. However, the rights of nontenured teachers in public schools, insofar as these rights differ from those of faculty in higher education, and the issues with respect to dismissal for cause of tenured faculty are beyond the scope of this Note.



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